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Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby timmunro86 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:12 pm

Route description: Stob Ban (Mamores) and Mullach nan Coirean

Munros included on this walk: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Bàn (Mamores)

Date walked: 12/11/2016

Time taken: 6 hours

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We arrived at Ballachulish at 10.30pm on Friday night and met up with our friends who were coming with us for the hike the next day, we had our hearts set on doing the Ring of Steall day but weather reports in the few days leading up to it had been rather rubbish to say the least - a 20% chance of cloud free munro's and likely to be rain for a significant portion of the day. Determined to give it a bash we got to bed and planned to get up early to go up to Glen Nevis and go for it.

Alarm went off at 6am and we struggled downstairs for breakfast in the hotel, to fuel ourselves up for the day ahead. We set off to drive up to Glen Nevis soon afterwards and the weather was already not looking too good with quite low cloud cover.

ImageIMG_5843 by Tim Allen, on Flickr

Arriving in Glen Nevis, we parked up at the top car park, got our boots and packs on and headed off along the trail towards the infamous wire bridge and the Steall falls. On the way up the trail it was obvious that the Water of Nevis was seemingly in spate conditions, fast flowing and turbulent, no doubt because of the significant rain fall and snow melt from the last few days - we wondered if we would even be able to cross the water at the Steall falls. We arrived at the wire bridge and two in our group crossed to go and assess the situation at the Steall falls. My wife and I were both less sure about crossing the wire bridge, particularly as she had an injured ankle and we searched around for an alternative way to get over the water. Of course, given the depth and speed of the river, even in the parts where it flattened out it still would have been a dangerous crossing. Ultimately a decision was made for us to all return next year in the summer to give it a bash under better and safer conditions.

So we went to our alternative plan and returned back down to the car park and drove down to Achriabhach where we set off to walk Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean instead.

ImageCoire a' Mhusgain by Tim Allen, on Flickr

A little dismayed at having to drop our original plan we set off up the path up toward Coire a' Mhusgain, all the while telling ourselves that it was for the best, as the forecast hadn't been good and visibility was likely to be poor up high we thought it best that saving RoS for a cracking day would be the best option anyway. Soon we began to rise higher past the Allt Coire a' Mhusgain and the stunning cliffs of the east face of Stob Ban came into view, it seemed like a reward for us and it reminded me to remain positive and appreciate every mountain day for it's own unique characteristics.

ImageCliffs of Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageLooking back down Coire a' Mhusgain by Tim Allen, on Flickr

The weather was good and bad, the cloud seemed to be lifting from the tops but the rain was also coming and going with some ferocity and we soon realised our waterproofs were not performing very well at all. After a brief lunch stop, brief because of the wet and cold chill factor, we donned some extra clothing and pressed on higher up toward the bealach.

ImageStob Ban & Ring of Steall Panorama by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageStob Ban & Ring of Steall Panorama 2 by Tim Allen, on Flickr

We topped out onto the bealach between Sgurr an Lubhair and Stop Ban around 1pm and were greeted with some fantastic views all around as miraculously some extremely rare sunshine burst through the clouds and began to illuminate the final munros of the Ring of Steall, as well as shining on down onto Fort William below. Thankfully the forecast had improved from what was expected (cloud base around 750-900) and we had been fortunate to have the clouds lift right up to around 1000 to allow us some clear vision to appreciate the views and pick our route clearly along the ridge up to the summit.

ImageLooking South from The Mamores by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageStob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageGreat Mountain Days with Friends by Tim Allen, on Flickr

The walk up to Stob Ban was delightful with views opening up all around to show us parts of Glencoe and out to sea but as we began to approach the top, the clouds dropped back down a little to restrict our view. We stopped for 5 minutes on top to snap what we could in the way of pictures before cracking on down the north ridge and following the path along the top of Coire Dearg toward Mullach nan Coirean.

ImageSgurr a' Mhaim from Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageBealach between Stob Ban & Sgurr a' Lubhair by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageSummit of Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageBoulder Fields :( by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageNorth Ridge of Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageMullach nan Coirean from Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageStob Ban North Ridge by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageThe Devils Ridge from Stob Ban by Tim Allen, on Flickr

My wife had suffered a bad sprained ankle a few months ago and had torn her ligaments so picking our way down the boulder fields from the top was a bit of a challenge for her but she managed it fine and we soon got down to the main path and made our way to the top of Mullach nan Coirean. The top was finally reached in the clouds and we didn't hang around as it was getting cold and we wanted to get down ASAP.

ImageA view down to Glen Nevis by Tim Allen, on Flickr

ImageAutumn Sun by Tim Allen, on Flickr

The descent path along the NE ridge toward Sron Riabhach was good until we reached some extremely boggy sections further down closer to the forest. As we got into the trees we needed to put on head torches to see our way but that was OK, we were very nearly at the end at that point.

ImageHead Torch Friends by Tim Allen, on Flickr

We made it back to the car around 5pm and changed into some clean, dry clothes before heading to Fort William to grab a bite to eat. It had turned out to be a tiring day but we were very much rewarded with some fantastic visibility and even a spot of sunshine which was completely unexpected. Every mountain day turns out to be an adventure. We will return to do The Ring in better weather next year!

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Re: Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby Steph D » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:54 pm

I feature in the 'with friends' photo above!

Worth noting that if you can get over the wire bridge it IS possible to cross the falls in bad weather, but not at the rocky 'falls' themselves and depending highly on how much you value the circulation in your feet! My partner and I crossed the bridge and went to check out the falls as described by Tim above - and there was no way we were getting across the rocks as the water was flowing very fast and deep. We walked downstream for maybe 75 metres and there is a small tree which hangs about 1/4 of the way over the water, from the far side. We took our boots etc off and crossed there, climbing in to the tree to save our cold feet, and this then gives you direct access up An Gearanach.

We climbed An Gearanach in March 2016 (our first failed attempt at ROS - driven back by snow higher up) and again failed at the rocky falls but this is when we first spotted our (now loyal and trusty) tree - the water was low enough that we managed to find stepping stones to half way across and climb in to the tree with completely dry feet!

I should probably post this under the route description for the ROS itself as it almost solves the issue of the falls!

The rest of the day was as Tim described, we were lucky and unlucky with weather but all in all we got much better visibility than any of us would have hoped. Some of the path on the way up was rocky (I am 6ft2" and my partner had to pull me up a rock face thanks to my own poor upper body strength) and you need to be sure-footed and agile to pick your way up and down the boulder fields. Also worth noting that on the descent, about 2 or 3km from the end, there is a stile which climbs over a fence in to the wooded area. The GPX download suggested we walk past it and around (I think) but we liked the look of the stile and path beyond so we went that way, and it was great.

No sign of anyone else on the track except one pair of footprints in the snow which we never did catch up with.

An interesting and rewarding circuit and a great weekend with friends :)
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Re: Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby rockhopper » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:35 am

Good result for a Plan B - looks like the weather turned out somewhat better than it first looked. Good excuse to hold off for a good day and go back for the Ring of Steall (just hope you get better weather than I did :roll: ) - cheers :)
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Re: Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby Graeme D » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:32 pm

It may not be the Ring of Steall, but this is a wonderful route all the same. 8)
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Re: Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby steven65 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:31 pm

And I thought I had these 2 to myself on Saturday............. !
I set off earlier than yourselves just before 8am & was back at the car at 4.
I have a love/hate relationship with all things " it " :lol: , so I`ve not put on a proper TR for ages :(
However, I did put some photos on TH via F-Book as per usual.
The last section just before the forest track off Sron Riabhach was V wet indeed.
Nice to see your photos, thanks.

** edit post** 2 cars came into the car park & bought parking tkts at the machine & headed up towards Steall just before I started , perhaps it was yourselves ?
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Re: Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean

Postby Coop » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:35 am

I was up there 3 days before - significantly more snow,(about a foot in places)
Only went to Stob ban rather than carrying on round. Couldn't see a thing on the summit. It's given me a good excuse to go back in the summer
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